Why is this important?
Most Americans agree on the importance of arts education for their
children.24 Although the majority of children will not become professional
artists, evidence indicates instruction in the arts leads to greater
achievement in other subject areas. High quality arts instruction
in dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts is acknowledged as
an essential part of a core curriculum, preparing students for successful
careers and lives.25
What is the measure?
We present three measures of the health of arts education; two
are related to arts education in local schools and one is related
to arts education for adults. The Arts Reach to Schools (ARTS) program,
in existence for more than sixteen years, brings visual and performing
artists into grades K-8 for demonstrations, participations, and
The percent of children participating in band classes in the area
tracks interest level by students and their families in elective
Finally, we show the number of arts-related classes offered at
Columbia College over the past three years. These classes are often
open to members of the community as well as regularly enrolled students
at the college, and so represent outstanding opportunities for life
long learning in the arts.
How are we doing?
As noted above, public support for arts education is high. However,
concerns remain that in economic downturns, arts and arts education
are often eliminated or greatly reduced.